Skull Session: Buckeyes House Hoosiers, the Void of Kerry Coombs, and Tate Martell on the Benefits of Scout Team

By D.J. Byrnes on January 31, 2018 at 4:59 am
Keita Bates-Diop powers through the January 31st 2018 Skull Session.
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Happy 30th birthday to my favorite 11W reader, DJsMom. She weathered 18 hellacious years of my gremlin ass living under her roof while I figured out a way to monetize my mental illness.

As a token of my appreciation on this special day, I got her a gift certificate for 45 seconds of talking on the phone with me, her first born son.


Word of the Day: Tintinnabulation.

 BUCKS HOUSE HOOSIERS. Here is a quick summation of the first meeting of Archie Miller and Chris Holtmann went for Indiana fans:

The second half didn't go much better for them either, as the Buckeyes clown-suited the Hoosiers, 71-56.

From Dan Hope of Eleven Warriors:

After starting slow offensively in many of their recent games, Ohio State attacked strong out of the gates on Tuesday, going on an early 10-0 run to take a 14-5 lead into the game's first media timeout. The Buckeyes immediately went into the post the Hoosiers – who did not have a player taller than 6-8 in their starting lineup – scoring 12 of their first 14 points of the game in the paint.

Ohio State continued to control the game throughout the first half, ultimately taking a 38-23 lead into the break, with 22 of the Buckeyes' first-half points coming inside the paint.

The Hoosiers, who trailed by double digits for all of the final 31-plus minutes of the game, were unable to make up any ground in the second half.

As a fanbase, we're still getting our appetite back for week night games against unranked opponents:

A funeral is still an improvement on last year, because funerals at least register on the emotional richter scale. The Scottenstein Center may never strike fear into the hearts of opponents, though.

 LOSING A LEGEND. Kerry Coombs is off to the Tennessee Titans, which still leaves me salty with our old friend Mike Vrabel. 

Ohio State will have to replace him in two phases—recruiting and development.


Ohio State hasn't announced how it will replace Coombs, but the room will change. One question is whether the new coach will rotate corners the way Coombs has for the last few years, basically using three starters for his two starting spots.

But beyond the philosophy of keeping corners fresh, it will be hard for the next coach to match Coombs' recruiting and development at the position.

Coombs' energy may be unrivaled. I'm still not worried about recruiting because the Urban Meyer–Ohio State brand recruits itself at this point.

Coaching will be where things get dicey. Meyer, like all bosses, hasn't nailed every hire. There could definitely be a drop off in that department, though we'll have to see how they eventually deploy new hire Alex Grinch, who specializes in defensive backs.

 TATE ON SCOUT TEAM. Tate Martell had the talent to sign with a university where he could've started as a true freshman. Instead he enrolled at Ohio State and rode pine behind J.T. Barrett and two blue-chip backups.

There, Martell made his second choice. He could've checked out like a lot of freshman who quickly realize they won't be making touchdowns in public that fall. Instead he dug into his role on scout team, playing a bevy of positions.

The responsibility helped him on and off the field.


“He’s matured,” said freshman defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, a teammate of Martell’s at Bishop Gorman. “He enrolled earlier than I did, but one thing I see from my friend, he put the team before himself. He went on scout team and he got our defense ready. Day in and day out. Week by week. Every week he was giving our guys a good look running around the field. He matured a lot, transitioning from high school to the collegiate level.”

A leader’s journey generally has humble beginnings, and there are few things as humbling as getting stifled every day by a dominating defense. Martell believes his beginnings will pave the way to much more for him and the team that he hopes one day to lead.

“If you’re not going to be doing anything in the game and you’re just sitting around, I feel like you should go on scout team. I’m being honest,” he said. “It made me so much better. I helped the defense, gave them good looks. You earn the respect of the guys.

I have no idea what to think of Martell's chance to start. As the derby's wild card, he definitely has a chance. It just remains to be seen if Meyer's professed love for Martell was genuine or a psychological ploy (people forget he graduated with a Psychology degree from Cincinnati) to keep him engaged through the season.

Even if it was the latter, the ploy worked.

 LET FREEDOM REIGN. The NCAA will soon take a look at a Big 12 proposal to let players leave schools without restriction should their coach get fired or leave for another job.


Athletes would be allowed to transfer schools without restriction if their coach were fired or left for another job as part of sweeping proposal that is making its way through Division I, CBS Sports has learned. However, athletes would not be permitted to follow the departing coach to their new program.

The proposal, which originated from the Big 12, would also allow athletes to transfer without sitting out a season (as currently mandated by NCAA rules) in the event a postseason ban is handed down by the NCAA as punishment to their program.

The traditional academic "year in residence" for transfers in all other situations would still be in place and extended to every sport. Presently, that is only a requirement in five NCAA sports.

I'm an an Ohio State fan, so this proposal has my vote.

Some people will have a problem with expanded player autonomy, but I'm for anything that shifts the balance of power towards historically elite schools. It's a cold world, and it's not our fault other schools can't run with the big dogs on the gridiron.

 THINGS COULDA GOT HECTIC. One time I was picking up a friend from a bar when a gang of drunkards hopped into my car and started shouting directions at me like I was a getaway driver in a bank heist. It's the closest I've ever come to pistol whipping somebody.

Thankfully nothing crazy like that happened to junior guard Michael Jordan yesterday.

Gotta check twice before hopping in a car, because you never know.

 THOSE WMDs. A weekend in Warren Sapp's world... The rise of the coded gaze... What he did on summer break: Expose a global security flaw... Drug firms shipped 20.8M pain pills to WV town with 2,900 people... Libraries bringing small-town news back to life.

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